Genre: Women's Fiction

#BookReview
Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen

#BookReview Miller’s Valley by Anna QuindlenTitle: Miller's Valley

Author: Anna Quindlen

Published by Random House on April 5, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 257

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Filled with insights that are hallmarks of Anna Quindlen’s bestsellers, this extraordinary novel is about a woman coming of age, as she unearths secrets about her family and her town, and surprising truths about herself.

For generations the Millers have lived in Miller’s Valley. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be “a place where it’s just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content.” 

Miller’s Valley is a masterly study of family, memory, loss, and, ultimately, discovery, of finding true identity and a new vision of home. As Mimi says, “No one ever leaves the town where they grew up, even if they go.” Miller’s Valley reminds us that the place where you grew up can disappear, and the people in it too, but all will live on in your heart forever.


Review:

This is a very interesting and intriguing story.

It is a sobering novel that reminds us that life is short and precious, and that everyone and everything that enters our life shapes us in some way and makes us who we are today.

It touches on familial dynamics, secrets, friendship, unconditional love, and the true meaning of home.

This story is well written. The characters are complex and real. And the first-person narration, by Mimi, captures you from the beginning and sweeps you along through her life’s highs and lows effortlessly.

This is a quiet, subtle story with a powerful impact that I think would be a shame to miss.

 

#BookReview
The Bourbon Kings by J. R. Ward
@JRWard1

#BookReview The Bourbon Kings by J. R. Ward @JRWard1Title: The Bourbon Kings

Author: J.R. Ward

Series: The Bourbon Kings #1

Published by NAL on July 28, 2015

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 420

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

Synopsis:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal…. 

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.


Review:

I really enjoyed this story.

This novel takes you into the lives of, the multi-generational bourbon maker family, the Bradford’s. They are southern. They are rich. And they have everything you would expect, debutante wives, fast cars, and beautiful houses. But like most families with money, power, and privilege everything is not as it always seems, and hidden away behind closed doors you find adultery, abuse, lies, secrets, and murder.

This story is very engaging and captivating. The characters are complex, flawed, and self-destructive. And the plot is well written, interesting and suspenseful.

This can be read as a standalone novel, but I guarantee by the end you will be looking forward to reading what comes next in the Bourbon Kings Book #2, The Angels’ Share, due to be published July 26, 2016.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

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About J.R. Ward

J.R. Ward is the number one New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series of vampire books. She is a winner of the prestigious Romance Writers of America RITA award for Best Paranormal Romance and is a multiple RITA nominee. A graduate of Smith College, she was a double major in History and Art History with a medieval concentration in both and she still longs at times for a return to those days sitting in dark lecture halls, looking at slides of old triptychs and reliquaries. Prior to becoming a full time writer, she was a corporate attorney, serving for many years as the Chief of Staff of one of Harvard Medical Schools premier teaching sites. Her idea of absolute heaven is a day filled with nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot and the Brothers, of course.

#BookReview
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

#BookReview The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina GeorgeTitle: The Little Paris Bookshop

Author: Nina George

Published by Broadway Books on March 22, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 6.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people’s lives.


Review:

As a book lover, I was really excited to read this book. I thought it had a great premise and great potential. Unfortunately, for me, it didn’t live up to my expectations and I can’t really pinpoint exactly where it went wrong.

The imagery of Paris and the French countryside is vivid, bold, and extremely well done. The characters evolve, develop, and grow throughout the story. And the plot is unique and thoughtful.

It is, ultimately, a story about loneliness and longing, the ability to love and to be loved, and what it means to truly live.

However, saying all that, it just never seemed to capture my attention. It didn’t flow well and I found myself putting it down numerous times before pushing myself to pick it back up to finish it. 

This is probably one of those stories that some people will love, but I would have to say with all the other great stories out there I would give this one a miss.

 

#BookReview
The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

#BookReview The Bookseller by Cynthia SwansonTitle: The Bookseller

Author: Cynthia Swanson

Published by Harper Paperbacks on March 22, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams

Nothing is as permanent as it appears . . . 

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped.

Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.

Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?

As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?


Review:

I loved this book.

This book was intriguing, insightful and intelligent. It gripped me from the beginning and it kept me enthralled till the very end.

It is a story that makes us think about the choices we make, the power of imagination, and our brain’s remarkable ability to cope.

This was well written and very unique. It is definitely a great choice for book clubs and it will certainly be on my “Must Read List” for 2016.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

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For more information on Cynthia Swanson, visit her website at: integritymodern.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @cynswanauthor

 

#BookReview
House Broken by Sonja Yoerg

#BookReview House Broken by Sonja YoergTitle: House Broken

Author: Sonja Yoerg

Published by NAL on January 6, 2015

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In this compelling and poignant debut novel, a woman skilled at caring for animals must learn to mend the broken relationships in her family.…
 
For veterinarian Geneva Novak, animals can be easier to understand than people. They’re also easier to forgive. But when her mother, Helen, is injured in a vodka-fueled accident, it’s up to Geneva to give her the care she needs.
 
Since her teens, Geneva has kept her self-destructive mother at arm’s length. Now, with two slippery teenagers of her own at home, the last thing she wants is to add Helen to the mix. But Geneva’s husband convinces her that letting Helen live with them could be her golden chance to repair their relationship.
 
Geneva isn’t expecting her mother to change anytime soon, but she may finally get answers to the questions she’s been asking for so long. As the truth about her family unfolds, however, Geneva may find secrets too painful to bear and too terrible to forgive.


Review:

I really liked this book.

This is a thought-provoking story that delves into the complexities and dysfunction of family relationships, including the long-lasting effects of secrets and the art of forgiveness.

It is written from the perspective of three different characters, Geneva, Geneva’s mother, and Geneva’s daughter, which allows the story to flow seamlessly between past and present.

It is a well written, insightful, bittersweet novel with real characters and a realistic ending.

This was part of my book club and I think it was a good pick.

 

#BookReview
The Seafront Tearoom by Vanessa Greene
@VanessaGBooks

#BookReview The Seafront Tearoom by Vanessa Greene @VanessaGBooksTitle: The Seafront Tea Room

Author: Vanessa Greene

Published by Berkley Publishing on December 1, 2015

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 353

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The first rule of afternoon tea: never rush. Take time to savor it. Just like friendship…

The Seafront Tearoom is an insider secret in small-town Scarborough – a beach-front haven with the best tea and cakes in town – and  journalist Charlie Harrison would love to put it on the map with a feature in her magazine. But single mom Kat Murray doesn’t want to see her favorite sanctuary overrun by tourists, and begs Charlie to seek out other options. She offers her help, as a “tea obsessive,” and so does French au pair Séraphine Moreau, whose upbringing makes her a connoisseur of everything sweet and indulgent.

Together the three women will scour the countryside for quaint hideaways and hidden gems, sharing along the way their secrets, disappointments, and dreams – and discovering that friendship, like tea, takes time to steep. But learning too that once you open your heart, the possibilities are endless. 


Review:

This is a warm, sweet story about family, friendship, heartbreak, and love.

It has lovable characters, exquisite description, a wonderful seaside setting, and lots of tea and cakes.

It is a light, easy read. Perfect for a day at the beach or a cool day snuggled up on the couch.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

About Vanessa Greene

Vanessa Greene is a writer of romantic fiction, and lover of tea, cake and car boot sales. She grew up in north London, the youngest of three children, and always wanted to be a writer. Back then she wrote whenever it was quiet, in her room at dawn before school, in the shed full of spiders and in the cellar.

She studied English at university in Brighton then went into publishing – She was a book editor through her twenties, before picking up a pen again at thirty-one and writing The Vintage Teacup Club. Along the way she's also taught English as a foreign language in Mexico and Ecuador, and learned to tango in Buenos Aires.

She lives in London (in a pink house) with her husband and toddler son.

#BookReview
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

#BookReview One Plus One by Jojo MoyesTitle: One Plus One

Author: Jojo Moyes

Published by Penguin Books on March 31, 2015

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story from the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You.
Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages… maybe ever.


Review:

This book captured my attention from the very start and kept it.

It is a charming story with flawed, quirky, lovable characters you can’t help but root for.

The story is rich in humour, hardship, heartbreak, and romance. The writing is poetic and flows effortlessly.

This is a great way to spend an afternoon. I highly recommend it.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

About Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes is a British novelist.

Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist.

Moyes' novel Foreign Fruit won the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004.

She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children.

#BookReview
Coming Up for Air by Patti Callahan Henry
@pcalhenry

#BookReview Coming Up for Air by Patti Callahan Henry @pcalhenryTitle: Coming Up for Air

Author: Patti Callahan Henry

Published by St. Martin's Griffin on May 22, 2012

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 272

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Ellie Calvin is caught in a dying marriage, and she knows this. With her beloved daughter away at college and a growing gap between her and her husband, she doesn’t quite seem to fit into her own life. But everything changes when her controlling mother, Lillian, passes away. Ellie sees her ex-boyfriend, Hutch, at the funeral, and learns that he is in charge of a documentary that involved Lillian before her death – and he wants answers to questions that Ellie’s not sure she can face.

As Ellie and Hutch start digging into Lillian’s history, and speaking for the first time in years, Ellie’s closed heart slowly begins to open. Using both a hidden diary that Ellie found in her mother’s things, and a trip to the Summer House, a mysterious and seductive bayside home, they gamble that they can work together and not fall in love again. But in piecing together a decades-old unrequited-love story, they just might uncover the secrets in their own hearts…


Review:

I enjoyed this book.

It was an interesting story that delved into mother/daughter relationships, secrets, heartbreak, love lost, love found and ultimately finding one’s self.

It was well written, easy to read, thought-provoking, and a generally nice story.

It’s definitely worth a read. 

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

 

About Patti Callahan Henry

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times bestselling author of thirteen novels, including the upcoming BECOMING MRS. LEWIS – The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. A finalist in the Townsend Prize for Fiction, an Indie Next Pick, an OKRA pick, and a multiple nominee for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Novel of the Year, Patti is a frequent speaker at luncheons, book clubs and women’s groups. The mother of three children, she now lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.

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